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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

Scientists discover form of dementia that mimics Alzheimer's

Scientists have discovered a form of dementia that mimics the symptoms of Alzheimer's but is in fact distinct from it. It is now clear that patients in New Jersey and across the U.S. may have been misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's. The discovery also shows that many factors can contribute to dementia.

The newly defined dementia has been labeled as limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or LATE dementia. Unlike Alzheimer's, this form of dementia is not caused by the buildup of beta-amyloid, the protein that hardens into plaque in the brain and kills neurons. Rather, a different protein called TDP-43, when misfolded, causes problems with memory and thinking. Misfolded TDP-43 is often associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the center of memory.

Long hours increase risk of miner injuries

Miners in New Jersey and elsewhere are more likely to suffer workplace injuries if they work long hours, according to a new study. The study, which was published in the journal BMJ Occupational and Environmental Medicine in April, was conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Researchers examined over 545,000 injury reports filed with the Mine Safety and Health Administration between 1983 and 2015. They discovered that 9.6% of hurt miners worked at least nine hours the day they were injured. The percentage was lower in 1983, with 5.5% of miners working a long shift the day they were hurt, and higher in 2015, with 13.9% of miners doing the same. They also discovered that miners who worked nine or more hours a day were at 73% greater risk of being caught up in an incident that injured multiple miners and at 32% greater risk of being killed on the job.

Study reveals that opioids are a growing threat to road safety

Drivers in New Jersey and around the country who get behind the wheel after taking opioid medications are twice as likely to die in a crash, according to a study published recently in JAMA Network Open. A research team from Columbia University came to this conclusion after scrutinizing 18,321 accident reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The researchers discovered that drivers impaired by opioids most often died after drifting out of their traffic lanes. This will likely come as no surprise to police officers as alcohol and opioid impairment have many similarities. Both alcohol and opioid medications slow down reaction times and make concentrating far more difficult. The dangers faced by sober road users are likely to remain high in the years ahead due to the highly addictive properties of drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl and the huge number of opioid prescriptions written by doctors each year.

An OSHA standard that could improve workplace electrical safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration presents a series of regulations and standards to help keep workers in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. safe while on the job. OSHA's NFPA 70E standard is meant to help both employers and workers ensure and improve workplace electrical safety. While some people do attempt to sidestep rules like this, it's generally agreed that proper implementation of the NFPA 70E standard is the better way to go for employers and independent contractors doing electrical work.

What this OSHA standard does is organize the way electrical work is done in a way that minimizes the risk of productivity-draining injuries and fatalities. For instance, the Job Briefing and Planning Checklist in Annex I of the NFPA 70E standard provides a list of protocols and safety procedures that should be addressed before electrical work actually begins. This comprehensive checklist can also be used by an employer or electrical contractor to perform a more thorough pre-job walk-through.

Improper medical garment removal can spread bacteria

New Jersey patients know that the medical staff members who treat them are only human and can make mistakes. Many mistakes are minor or caught very quickly before they can do any harm, but some medical errors can be serious and cause harm to patients or to others. Mistakes involving contaminated materials can spread disease throughout a medical setting. A recent study indicates that mistakes made by health care workers when removing personal protective clothing can contaminate clothing or equipment with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The study that was conducted by researchers in Chicago observed nurses and doctors in adult intensive care units for a period of six months. Half of the 125 health care workers observed had been formally trained in the proper use of protective garments and equipment in the previous year. Ninety percent had received training in 'donning and doffing" of personal protective garments in the previous five years.

Mistaken diagnosis common cause of malpractice claims

When people in New Jersey feel ill, they often go to the doctor to receive a clear diagnosis. Unfortunately, on far too many occasions, they may instead be given incorrect answers and improper or ineffective treatment. According to two studies, misdiagnosis is the most common reason why patients file medical malpractice claims. According to one insurer, 46 percent of closed claims filed between 2013 and 2017 were related to the diagnostic process.

In addition, these claims reflected an even larger share of those that were paid out to the injured patients: 68 percent of paid costs were related to misdiagnosis claims. In 45 percent of the claims, the patient passed away due to complications. Another study found that 38 percent of all malpractice claims involving children were related to misdiagnosis. There are a number of reasons that ill people may be misdiagnosed, but in many cases, it is due to a cursory or inadequate examination process. Doctors may not order necessary tests, fail to follow up with patients or neglect to thoroughly examine them.

How daylight saving time can heighten car crash risk

Residents of New Jersey who feel drowsy after daylight saving time should know that this can increase their risk of a car crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety upholds the opinion that everyone should sleep at least seven hours each night. The organization found that those who miss one to two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for an auto accident.

Even more startling, AAA says that those who sleep only five hours in the previous 24 hours will drive like one who is drunk; the level of impairment is similar in both cases. Despite the risks, drowsy driving continues to be an issue. Three in 10 respondents to a AAA survey said that they drove at least once in the past month in such a tired state that they could hardly keep their eyes open.

Diagnosing rare diseases

The citizens of New Jersey may be surprised to learn that rare diseases affect around 400 million people globally. Nevertheless, given the relatively low number of people affected by these ailments, rare diseases are rarely researched or talked about in the public sphere, making them a mystery to today's doctors. According to some estimates, out of 7,000 diseases classified as rare, only 500 can be treated.

The statistics surrounding rare diseases are interesting. To begin with, a disease classified as rare affects less than 200,000 Americans, half of which are children. What's more, several rare cancers are actually subtypes of other cancers that are more common. On average, rare diseases receive less than 10 percent of medical research funding.

Best practices for safety at a construction site

Accidents at construction sites can be a major problem for both employees and companies. Incidents can lead to serious injury and even death at all types of locations. Throughout the history of construction, many best practices for safety have been developed. It's important for both workers and their employers to consider all the ways they can mitigate risks on the job site. When everyone is aware and involved, the chance of accidents occurring will go down.

The primary best practices for construction sites is awareness and training. By making sure everyone understands that hazards of the site and the proper techniques for performing jobs and handling equipment, accidents will be less likely. Training sessions should take place before anyone starts a job, and supervisors should ensure the lessons learned in training are followed.

Distracted driving

Driving distracted is a menace to the motorists of New Jersey. According to federal data, distractions account for about 10 percent of all fatal car crashes. What's more, these unnecessary diversions come in all shapes and sizes: for example, a hot cup of coffee that gets spilled, a child begging for attention or a call on a cellphone that needs to be answered.

People have been changing the way they use cellphones over the past few years, making them riskier. A decade ago, people used to talk on their cellphones, and that was the extent of their usage. However, people today use phones to text, send emails and surf the internet more than they use them to make calls. The likelihood of a driver using a phone for something other than a phone call is 57 percent.

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